Proposed benefit changes could 'exclude disabled'

Walking stick The ability to walk more than 20m is one criteria for the higher mobility rate of PIP

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Disabled people would be "ghettoised and excluded from society" under the new benefit rules, says a crossbench peer.

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson says the government needs to "think again" about its last-minute changes to the system of Personal Independence Payments.

It replaces the Disability Living Allowance.

Tougher rules to assess how far people can walk mean many claimants will lose help with transport from April.

Those unable to walk more than 20m would qualify, rather than the previous distance of 50m.

Ministers say the benefit will be targeted at those who need it most.

Start Quote

It is not a tightening of the assessment”

End Quote A spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions

But campaigners say thousands of disabled people could lose out.

New rules

About 3.2 million people receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA), a payment of between £20.55 and £131.50 a week to assist them in leading independent lives.

The Department of Work and Pensions maintains it is making an out-dated benefit much clearer. And that broadly the same number of people will be entitled to extra mobility help.

Personal Independence Payment

  • From 8 April 2013 a new benefit called Personal Independence Payment (PIP) to replace Disability Living Allowance for eligible working age people aged 16 to 64
  • PIP is based on an assessment of individual need - there will be no automatic entitlement
  • The new assessment will focus on an individual's ability to carry out a range of key activities necessary to everyday life
  • PIP is a non-means-tested and non-taxable cash benefit made up of a Living component and a mobility component

The government hopes to save £2bn as a result of the switch from DLA to PIPs.

We Are Spartacus, an online campaign group about disabled people's views on the welfare system, analysed figures from the Department for Work and Pensions and Motability, the organisation that supplies lease cars and specialist converted vehicles to disabled people claiming the highest mobility rate of Disability Living Allowance.

With an estimated 428,000 fewer working-age disabled people would qualifying for the higher PIP rate by 2018, report co-author Jane Young said: "This not only condemns thousands more disabled people to the worry of losing out under the new benefit and the isolation this will bring. It also highlights the lie that the government's reforms are targeted to support those in need."

She said that of the 173 consultation responses from organisations on the new PIP "only one suggested the qualifying distance for those who have the most difficulty getting around should be changed."

The Department for Work and Pensions said it had received strong feedback suggesting a need for the 20m measure to bring clarity over the assessment criteria.

Start Quote

This will really radically changes how disabled people are able to integrate into society”

End Quote Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson Former Paralympian

A spokeswoman said: "It is not a tightening of the assessment - our modelling shows that, after this change, the number of people receiving the enhanced rate of the mobility component as a result of the 'moving around' activity will be broadly the same.

"The intention of the criteria remains the same - to make sure support is targeted at those who need it most, by making sure those who receive the enhanced rate of the mobility component are those who face the greatest barriers to mobility."

Baroness Grey-Thompson said at her local supermarket she could not get from a blue badge parking space to the doors - 20m is not that far, she said.

The former Paralympian and member of the all-party parliamentary disability group said she had a "real fear" that disabled people would be "ghettoised and excluded from society", under the new rules.

"I'd really like the government to think again. Not just about changing the distance but about actually what the regulations say to ensure that disabled people are really protected," she told BBC Breakfast.

"It could be that over 400,000 disabled people won't get support - and that means they won't get help with transport, maybe getting their children to school or to getting work, and this really radically changes how disabled people are able to integrate into society."

Baroness Grey-Thompson said there would many appeals in response to the move, which would "clog up the system".

"Appeals cost far more than actually just giving disabled people the benefit in the first place," she said.

Fewer qualifying people would mean 160,000 fewer Motability cars on the road, the analysis suggested, which in other research has been linked to economic losses such as fewer jobs in the Motability-related industries, and lower GDP contributions.

Ms Young said: "Disabled people will be less independent, less likely to be able to get or keep a job, more likely to give up self-employment and less able to care for their children or support other family members."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 158.

    To all stating about ATOS...ok there no angels ....but do u all realise that "decision makers" in the DWP are over ruling decisions when ATOS say they are unfit ....thats why so many appeals dont go the full appeal process !!!!!!!!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 157.

    So the 'outdated' benefit is being replaced by one which says if you can walk between 20 and 50 metres you are no longer sufficiently disabled to receive any help.

    Thank you coalition, nice to see that you are really on the ball. I'm sure all those genuine claimants left struggling as a result will be grateful to you for helping to get them off benefits.

    I wonder where the 2bn will go instead?

  • Comment number 156.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 155.

    This decision by this government ,DWP & most of all Smith is a disgraceful & outrageous attack on disabled,with their misleading lies & propaganda which some media are shamefully still backing with unsubstantiated headlines

  • rate this

    Comment number 154.

    ATOS said I was fit for work after my last medical, what they didn't know what I had a heart attack outside their medical centre and was afraid to go back in to get help, from Doctors that clearly were motivated by their bonus to get people off disability benefits at all costs, even if it leads to the death of the claimant.
    Now I don't have to attend medicals as they put me in an exempt group.

  • rate this

    Comment number 153.

    @145. You must be sick of reporting him then? No? Then you're part of the problem.

  • rate this

    Comment number 152.

    At the moment I'm in this group can walk 20m, can't walk 50m. That difference does not get me to the bus stop. At the moment I don't have a motability car, but get a lot of taxis. I am seriously thinking of getting a motability car, this would hopefully enable me to work part time and generally improve my quality of life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 151.

    essexash @120
    "fit enough to whinge"
    So fit enough to 'work'?

    Amongst the 'disabilities' of Mammon, myopia is prominent

    In its wisdom, 'the market' rejects the blemished, blind, halt and lame

    But 'old soldiers' may have family, friends, & votes: hence 'benefits'

    And, as you notice, 'beggars' can be vocal, for selves, others, us

    Who else, nothing left to lose, can speak for Humanity today?

  • rate this

    Comment number 150.

    Disgusting, but dont worry Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg - disabled people have the vote as well...

  • rate this

    Comment number 149.

    Auntie Left claims the genuine need not worry. Speaking as someone even ATOS admitted was too disabled to work, I'm absolutely terrified of the damage the slashing of disability benefits is doing. PIP is just the latest: the Independent Living Fund has been closed, cESA eligibility has been cut to a year, Housing Benefit changes hit disabled people especially hard, and the list goes on, and on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 148.

    2 Minutes ago

    11 Minutes ago
    The amount of times I see people jump into motobility cars like spring lambs ...
    How do you know it's a Motability car? How do you know that the person getting into the car isn't driving it for someone else? Do some research before copying the Daily Mail verbatim! badge, parked in disabled bay, photo on blue badge , doh!

  • rate this

    Comment number 147.

    At my local swimming pool, the disabled places are taken up early in the morning and the occupants swim at a faster rate than I do and seem to have no problem walking to and from the pool.

  • rate this

    Comment number 146.

    145 fray-bentos

    'I know a guy claiming to be be disabled ...'

    Have you reported him? Have you been in touch with the DHSS? Have you made him up?

  • rate this

    Comment number 145.

    Those genuinely disabled dont seem to realise that if the workshy who masquerade as disabled were put back to work we could afford to pay those most in need a decent amount of money. Instead a lot is wasted through abuse. I know a guy who has been claiming to be disabled yet plays squash and drives a mobility mercedes - yes a MERC.

  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    @125 DWP statistics,who have an incentive to exaggerate fraud says otherwise-the least amount of fraud -it is because it is so little that they have to change the eligibility .Nothing to do with sentimentality,the genuine are having their income reduced/removed as policy which will increase the costs to the State.You cannot save money by cutting a cost saving allowance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    94. John M
    Wow, I must be really ignorant. So, you get travel allowance now if you get cancer, do you? I didn't know that...
    You can do. Most cancer patients are of pensionable age and getting a taxi home after chemo (especially if you're treated in a major centre 30 or 40 miles from home) is beyond a state pension. Younger cancer patients are unlikely to be in work so the same applies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 142.

    Bad governance has led to wages not keeping up with living costs. This means nearly half the population are in receipt of some form of government welfare or subsidy.

    Exactly where do you crazy folk think the money for all these handouts are going to come from?

  • rate this

    Comment number 141.

    Perhaps the next step would be to save on all the admin work in issuing passes and so on, and just get them to sew a yellow star on their clothes. It would be the right kind of level of operation for the ConDems if they did do this, given the way they are victimizing people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 140.

    I have autism and am physically disabled I also live alone have no friends, no social worker, no carers and my nearest family member lives 15 miles away.
    I already lost the care element of DLA last re-assessment after getting it for 10 years despite no change. I expect I'll lose the mobility component next and that's when I'll probably end up in care staring out of a window somewhere.

  • rate this

    Comment number 139.

    This reminds me of the Work Capability Assessment. 'Can you walk 50m?'

    Whether you can do that action again straight away or be knocked out for the rest of the day is ignored. Your details are fed into the computer tick box and it adds up your points.

    You are not treated as an individual - you are a statistic.


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